Workers’ compensation injuries can arise from any number of circumstances. People forget to lift with their legs and hurt their backs. Workers come into contact with sharp objects and may cut themselves. People may be at work in overly hot conditions and suffer from heat stroke. Injuries from workplace accidents may be minor and require only a little medical attention or they can be serious and leave a worker permanently disabled. If you were hurt while at work, contact the Charlotte workers’ compensation attorneys at Ted A. Greve & Associates P.A.
Due to the seriousness of workplace injuries, the National Safety Council rounded up the most common worksite hazards its consultants see. If these problems were solved at worksites across the U.S., workers’ compensation claims would likely decrease.
The Top 7 Workplace Hazards
The causes of workplace injuries and deaths are innumerable, but the NSC has found these issues are commonplace and preventable.
- Working at a height: The construction and utility industries often require workers at great heights. It might be hanging electrical lines or building a 20-story building. Either way, the height puts workers at a greater risk for injury and death. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics found fatal falls, trips, and slips increased 10 percent from 2013 to 2014. Fatal falls specifically to a lower level rose from 595 in 2013 to 647 in 2014. To prevent these tragedies, worksites must comply with all U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration fall protection regulations. Supervisors and workers also need to pay attention to the condition of all personal protective equipment (PPE). Fall prevention gear does not last forever.
- Poorly cleaned work areas: Construction and other worksites can become cluttered with extra materials or slick from spills of chemicals or pooled water. It is so common, workers may not even think of this environment has dangerous. However, clutter and spills become a problem when they block or decrease the safety of an emergency exit and increase the risk of falls, trips, and slips. To improve this situation, supervisors and workers need to make a conscious effort to clean up their spaces, properly store inventory and equipment, and clean up spills as they happen.
- Electrical extension cords: NSC consultants often find inappropriately used extension cords, such as multiple cords plugged in a row or extension cords plugged into a power strip. These are only two examples of potential OSHA violations. Long-term use of extension cords for a project might also be a safety violation, as is leaving cords on the ground as a trip hazard. To prevent overload and shock hazards, The NSC recommends following all OSHA safety procedures like making sure to use the correct type and length of extension cord when it is necessary, inspecting cords on a regular basis, and picking them up at the end of the day. If the cords are not for a temporary purpose, then the workers need to consider putting in an electrical system.
- Forklifts: Every year there are about 85 forklift-related fatalities and 34,900 forklift-related serious injuries. The deaths and injuries may affect the driver or other workers around the forklift when it is operational. The NSC found issues arise when people using forklifts feel they have to work fast. Instead of working slowly and carefully, they might take short cuts to finish their work quickly, such as driving too fast or carrying too large of a load. Dangers can also arise when a driver is not properly trained and tested or if the forklift is not properly maintained. Workers must follow all of OSHA’s Powered Industrial Truck regulations to ensure safety. These regulations oversee training, operating the forklift, maintenance of the equipment, and consistent inspections.
- Lockout/Tagout: OSHA requires workers to follow the standard for The Control of Hazardous Energy, which is more commonly known as lockout/tagout. The purpose of these regulations is to turn off or lock equipment that could shock or electrocute another worker who is performing maintenance or other work activities. However, even if there is an energy control program in place, workers need to follow all of the necessary steps. All equipment needs to have the proper, up-to-date lockout/tagout labels and warnings. Workers should be trained on lockout/tagout procedures and familiar with the equipment they use on site.
- Chemicals: All chemicals on a worksite should be properly labelled, stored, and handled, which may require protective equipment and keeping certain chemicals in different places. The NSC noticed many worksites gather chemicals thinking a worker may need one of them in the future. But the chemicals end up sitting on shelves too long and degrading. Depending on the chemicals, the degradation can be dangerous. The NSC recommends employers purchase chemicals only when needed and if they store chemicals in their inventory, to carefully track they when are purchased and dispose of them properly when necessary.
- Confined spaces: Many workers have to go into small, right spaces to work. However, these kinds of spaces pose many hazards, particularly collapsing and trapping a worker. Because of the risks associated with these areas, OSHA has regulations for working in confined spaces. Workers need to know when a permit is required to work in a confined space, and employers need to perform a risk assessment before sending workers in. The NSC pointed out that work in a confined space must be well planned to ensure everyone’s safety.
How a Charlotte Workers’ Compensation Attorney Can Help
If you were hurt because of one of the hazards discussed by the NSC or a different type of workplace incident, you should call the experienced workers’ compensation attorneys at Ted A. Greve & Associates P.A. located in Charlotte, North Carolina. A lawyer can help you determine if you have a right to workers’ compensation and apply for coverage. If you have been denied workers’ compensation coverage, a skilled Charlotte work injury lawyer can work with you to appeal the decision. North Carolina workers’ compensation insurance can be complex, which is why having a lawyer with more than 20 years of experience liked Ted A. Greve by your side improves your chances of gaining the benefits you need to recover and move forward.